Everyone receives and processes information differently and there have been extensive studies done over the years to try and identify the various ways people learn. These are often based on their personalities and other factors. Understanding someone’s personality type can give an insight into their preferred learning style. Using the MBTI personalities as a guideline, parents can narrow down the ways in which their children prefer to learn. It is vital to understand personality types and learning styles as this can ultimately result in a more successful education.
Identifying Personality Types
In tackling this head on, one must first decide on which personality type classification to use. Many existing theories used today are an off-shoot of Carl Jung’s initial philosophies. For the purpose of this post, we have decided to use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which is an expansion of Jung’s theory. The infographic below gives a simplified insight into the 16 main personality types identified by Myers and Briggs. It shows how each personality type accepts and reacts to other people, information, decision-making, and organization.
To make things more interesting, try out the test yourself here! Once you’ve given it a go, time to get the kids involved. While the original test is for adults, there are special versions for kids as well, like this one. Parents can take the quiz on their behalf, as they have intimate knowledge of their children’s behaviour and the way they react in certain situations. Lauren Apfel, a mother, did just that to understand her sons better. She acknowledges that while some have questioned the accuracy of MBTI, she found that it has helped her to delve into herself and her relationships.
Introverts and Extroverts
One of the key pieces of information derived from such personality tests is whether someone identifies as an introvert or an extrovert. This is something that parents and teachers should be aware of when it comes to kids, because introverts and extroverts have very distinct learning styles, and adopting a one size fits all learning model may not be successful. Extroverts prefer to engage with others when learning, while introverts may be more comfortable working on solo projects. It can be challenging for teachers to placate both parties. To balance this out, teachers can have a good mix of solo and group projects.
For parents, remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong if your child is either an introvert or an extrovert. We are all wired differently, after all. In fact, studies have shown that “introverts secrete cortisol”, a stress hormone, when they have to engage with strangers. An introverted child may need breaks after heavy social interaction, and also need time to adjust to situations where there is a lot happening. Conversely, an extroverted child thrives on engagement, so facilitate accordingly. Encourage their various interests, but also make sure they know that downtime is just as crucial.
MBTI and Learning
Using extraversion and introversion as the key elements is one way to identify learning styles, but MBTI goes more in-depth to include personalities that are Sensing, Intuitive, Thinking, Feeling, Judging and Perceiving. While extroverts may naturally gravitate to a more social and interactive form of learning, introverts tend to be more reflective. But beyond this, parents and teachers must also see the other facets of a child’s personality to comprehend why they react differently. Some children will simply enjoy acts of service like community work, while others prefer using their hands to build things. Some children are more logical and practical, while more imaginative ones tend to disappear into their own thoughts. This chart provides an insight into how each of the 16 personality types operate when it comes to learning and absorbing information.
The Various Learning Styles
There are four main learning styles that are traditionally acknowledged, and these are additional ways to understand how people learn differently. One could be a visual learner, auditory learner, read/write learner or a kinaesthetic learner. The visual learner often requires visual stimulation, so learning with mind-maps and colours is very helpful to them. The auditory learner is a very good listener, so presenting information out loud to them is beneficial. Read/write learners require a pen and a notebook to focus, as that’s how they best absorb the lesson. Finally, kinesthetic learners adopt a more hands-on approach, and flash cards could be a good way for them to learn. Check out the cool infographic below, which illustrates how each learning style is different.
As you can see, there are many facets in understanding a child’s personality type, and how this correlates to their learning style. Gaining a deeper knowledge of these factors can help parents and teachers to customize and tailor learning to each individual, while respecting who they are. We hope this post has helped you find out more your child, and that it proves beneficial to you.
What method did you use to find out your child’s personality and learning style? How do you incorporate this knowledge into parenting or teaching? We’d love to hear your thoughts!